Patti's Story

Patti wanted to be a mother, but medications that controls her rheumatoid arthritis made it very difficult to achieve that dream. She decided to form new dreams and now mentors others with arthritis.  

Growing up on a farm, Patti helped bale hay and walk soybeans, among other chores. She was one of six siblings, and they all helped on the farm when they were young. Patti was proud of her role and being a farmer’s daughter taught her physical and internal strength. In her early 20s, she started experiencing extreme pain in her feet and then in other areas of her body. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) shortly after.  

When Patti began her career at Schneider Electric’s DTN/The Progressive Farmer, an agricultural information company, she used her lunch time to rest. If she had any activities planned after work, she would have to go home and take a break first. The pain of arthritis made even daily activities a struggle. Morning stiffness made getting out of bed a difficult task. Patti wasn’t afraid to ask for help, and she used that as an opportunity to educate people about arthritis.  

After marrying her high school sweetheart, Patti longed to have a baby. The many medications she took to control her arthritis made the process of becoming pregnant very difficult. Patti finally decided to give up on her dream of having a child. She formed new dreams and pursued them.  

After eight years and 19 medications, Patti’s RA is finally under control and she no longer has pain on a daily basis. Patti’s husband, friends, family and pets enrich her life and bring her joy. She enjoys bowling with her husband and friends in a weekly league. She and her husband also enjoy visiting their cabin on the Elkhorn River to rest and recuperate after the work week.  

Patti began volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation over 20 years ago. “I feel strongly that God gave me this disease for a reason,” says Patti. “And that reason is to educate people about arthritis and help others who also have it.”  

Patti is a previous recipient of the William M. Kizer Light of Wellness Award presented by the Wellness Council of the Midlands. She believes the most rewarding part of volunteering is to see someone’s despair and fright be replaced with knowledge and optimism.  

I Want to Contribute
I Need Help
  • Donate


    Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life.

  • Volunteer


    Join us and become a Champion of Yes. There are many volunteer opportunities available.

  • Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Take part to be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis.

  • Partner


    Proud Partners of the Arthritis Foundation make an annual commitment to directly support the Foundation’s mission.


Ways to Give

Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

Make a Donation

Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

Become a Member

Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20 and you'll receive access to helpful tools..... and more. 

Make a Honor or Memorial Gift

Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

Gift Planning

I want information on ways to remember the AF in my will, trust or other financial planning vehicles.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.

Become a Volunteer

More About Volunteering


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

Get Started


Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.


Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000


Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.


Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.


Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.


Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.


Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.